On Thursday, Colombians will again gather for 'The March of the Pencils,' a new students' mobilization against neoliberal government policies, in Bogota. This time around, the Embera Dobida, Zenu, and Wounaan Indigenous peoples will join in.
"In a ‘Common Task for Life and Dignity’, the Indigenous peoples join the mobilization throughout the country," according to a statement from the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC).
Last Sunday, some 500 Indigenous people from Choco arrived in Bogota to demand compliance with government agreements related to housing, health, education, and security. However, dialogue between Indigenous peoples and the Duque Administration was suspended, on Tuesday.
"I do not know if you know that we are in crisis at Colombia. The government ignores our requests for a more equitable education and is attacking students in the streets. Please do not ignore this. They want us stupid because knowledge is the best weapon."
Thursday's protest, which is scheduled to begin early in the morning, will also include Colombian workers, who have leveled complaints against President Ivan Duque's tax reform that is seeking to put a tax on necessity goods.
The workers' mobilization will depart from the National Park and culminate at the San Francisco Church, where the protestors are expected to remain for the rest of the day. The event will kickoff from three different starting points, the National University, the Pedagogical University and the District University, and will then filter onto the main streets of Colombia's capital city.
A massive crowd is expected to participate in the 'March of the Pencils.'
Colombian pedagogue Julian de Zubiria, in an open letter sent to President Duque, argues that both the prolongation of the conflict, since a month ago, and the lack of a fruitful dialogue with the students' movement, could affect the lives of thousands of students, especially if the pupil's semester of study is canceled.
"In 32 public universities all over the country, 650,000 students are close to losing the semester they are currently carrying out," the letter in the Semana newspaper said.
In this context, which shows several social groups disagree with government policies, Colombia will have a new national day of protest demanding more resources for public education and the defense of the rights of the people, in addition, to the rejection of tax reform.